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Monday, Sept. 15, 2006

THE SECOND ROOM PRESENTS

Psychedelic radar 09.15


Special to The Japan Times Online

Vision Quest: Sept. 16-18

Vision Quest -- The Gathering 2006
FULL-ON MEMORY MAKERS (clockwise from left, Vision Quest co-founder Tania Miller, Skazi, Astrix, Infected Mushroom and Dino Psaras. VISION PRODUCTIONS PHOTOS

Vision Quest Tokyo presents "The Gathering 2006," Sept. 16-18 at the Palcall Tsumagoi ski resort in Gunma Prefecture. Advance tickets (12,000 yen) may still be available. At the gate, 15,000 yen. Parking charge is 4,000 yen per vehicle.

Live acts returning for 2006 are Skazi (Chemical Crew, Israel), Infected Mushroom (BNE Records, Israel), Astrix (Hommega Productions, Israel), Psycraft (Hommega, Israel), Melicia (Phonokol Records, Israel), Dino Psaras (VQ, U.K.), Shanti (VQ, Ibiza), S.U.N. Project (VQ, Germany), Dali (Hommega, Israel) and Alternative Control (VQ, Serbia).

New to the lineup are Cyrus The Virus (VQ, Netherlands), Delirious (Hommega, Israel), Pixel (Hommega, Israel), Pop Stream (VQ, Israel), Void (Chemical Crew, Israel), Domestic (Hommega, Israel) and Eskimo (Phantasm Records, U.K.).

DJs include Vision Quest's own Ami and Roger Jordan, plus Asher Swissa (Skazi), Dino Psaras, Eli Biton (Pixel), Eskimo, Ido Ophir, (Domestic), Jan-Willem (Cyrus The Virus), Ratsko and Toca (Alternative Control), Shanti and Yinon Oved (Pop Stream).

Starting the show at 6 p.m. on the first night will be Sasha (VQ, Brazil), while Dominic (Interchill Records, Germany) has earned the honor of starting the second night from 7 p.m. (Don't tease Dominic about finally playing on the second night of a party, Vision Quest is entrusting him with the task brilliantly handled last year by deep-chill luminaries Shulman and Bluetech. Anyway, it will be a nice to wake up to the Interchill Records vibes for the second night's fun.)

Now if the sun does not shine on the western half of Gunma Prefecture this weekend, I'm having serious doubts about how much sleep I'll get over the next several months.

Because with the insane buildup we have been enjoying all summer, this energy has got to go somewhere. I admit that I spent most of "The Gathering 2005" snug in my tent safe from the storm. But I paid for that all winter by bouncing off the walls. It's the end of summer and for most the last chance to stomp terra and push the rest button.

2005's rain-soaked affair drew around 7,000 people. On that same weekend, the progressive Annoyo island party was completely washed out by a tropical storm. Meanwhile the Earth Energy doof in Yamanashi Prefecture had no rain at all. Illogical weather is one part of Japan you just have to learn to accept. It's better just to plan for the worst possible rain, then when the sun comes out you'll be much happier. Right?

Vision Quest -- Gathering 2005 stage
The main stage at The Gathering 2005 in the last hour of the event. This year's stage will be in the same place, but has been givent a major redesign to better complement the sound and lighting. JEFF OGRISSEG PHOTO

Click here to read the preview for last year's event at Palcall. The setup will be almost exactly the same, with some improvements.

Actually, there have been many improvements. Each time Vision Quest makes it better or more memorable than before. This isn't just praise, it's their policy. Customer satisfaction is factored into everything.

But Vision Quest has outdone themselves this year by putting the timetable on everybody's wrists, sort of. If your cellphone can read the square Q-codes, you can browse right to VQ's mobile site. Clever! The tent site on the southerly slope will be open again this year and there will be vastly better onsen access in the village. (Customers with official wristbands can come and go.)

Live acts Sunday morning:

Live Delirious -- Starting at 1:30 a.m., Delirious will be perfect if it is raining. I can't explain why. But we haven't seen much of Avi Harush and Arik Mimon since the release of their album "Break Point" last year.

Live S.U.N. Project -- Few people know this, but these guys are the reason I went to my first Gathering in 2001. Matthias, Marco and McCoy played a "Wicked" last year and ended up with one of the best videos in "The Gathering 2005" DVD.

Live Dino Psaras -- Long a fixture of The Gathering, Dino has his own unique techno-based sound, pocked with droplets of dark searing acid. He was responsible for that unofficial Gathering 2005 anthem with the unforgettable lyrics, "I only want to be with you."

Live Void -- Void is awesome full-on music. Played a killer party at Ariake Differ in early August after a long absence but have promised to blow our minds.

Live Alternative Control -- When you watch these two crazy Serbs, keep in mind that they traveled 29 hours via Belgrade and Paris for this 90-minute show. Toprek Goran (a.k.a. Toca) and Rastko Palikuca are still riding high on the release of their debut album "Alt+Ctrl." If they've got something new, they'll play it here.

Live Dali -- In the seven days following the release of Dali's debut album "Hectic" on May 26, three significant things happened. 1) Dali played to a capacity crowd -- about 3,000 -- at Zepp Tokyo. The kids were trying to climb up each other to touch her hand when she took her act to the edge of the stage. 2) A thread started on the Isratrance Web site ripping every aspect of "Hectic" to shreds. It becomes so heated and vulgar that the moderator shuts it off. 3) Vision Quest placed an emergency order for a second 1,500-copy shipment of "Hectic" because the first 1,500 disappeared from shops in six days. Bottom line: you will love Dali, plain and simple!

Live Psycraft -- Alon Algrasi and Nir Sidon have been making trance since 1995 and are one of the most venerated and mimicked psy-trance acts ever. Algrasi and Sidon have probably been the most influential in the use of guitars in trance as true instruments, not just attention-getters.

Live Cirus The Virus -- Jan-Willem Bot of "William Wallace" fame released his first album, "Subliminal," at the end of 2004 but hasn't been see much here since.

Live Pop Stream -- Last live set of the day. Yinon Oved turned a lot of heads at Mother Records' "Space Of Sound (S.O.S.)" party in July with his live set. He'll turn a few more at Gathering.

Live acts Monday morning:

Domestic -- Art Making Machine
"Art Making Machine," by Domestic.

Live Domestic The first live of the second night starts at 1 a.m. Veteran artist Ido Ophir reportedly has a special gift to hear frequencies like nobody else. His new album "Art Making Machine," released today, is to going to prove that and a number of other talents that he has. The new album is subltly anthemic, and we are gonna need a good anthem if it rains all weekend.

Live Shanti Matkin -- The girls all love Shanti because he's got that blond European look going, but this guy is a genius. His Gathering live sets are mind-blowing.

Live Skazi -- Comes on 4:30 a.m., right when we need a punky metal jolt, with a brand new live set. I'm not a huge fan of Skazi music because it's usually a bit too harsh for casual listening. But the Skazi live show is the best psy-trance stage performance, outdoor or indoor doesn't matter. You can't help but like it. The Skazi live last year yanked people out of their tents and back to muddy dancefloor.

Live Astrix -- Since the first time I heard him outdoors at "The Gathering 2002," Avi Shmailov has blown my mind as the No. 1 one-man live act in psychedelic trance. You really never know what's coming, just that it's going to be righteous. Astrix also is bringing a brand-new live act.

Live Infected Mushroom -- Psychedelic morning music at its very finest. Coming on at 7:30 a.m., Erez Eizen and Amit Duvdevani will give you a preview of the new album they hope to release next January. So much has been written about Infect Mushroom that anything I say would sound like plagiarism.

Eskimo -- Balloonatic Part Two
"Balloonatic, Part Two," by Eskimo.

Live Eskimo -- Junya Mindfield, the son of John Mindfield at Phantasm Records, is a true prodigy, having played music worldwide since he was 13. The Gathering is the release party for his second album "Balloonatic Part Two," released today. Junya's live sets are a trippy blast.

Live Melicia -- I liked Melicia a lot before Aviram Iluz's sister, Odelya, joined the live act. Now I love her, er, it, I mean, them. Darn! When I see her in person it's worse; I can't even talk right. I'm kidding a bit, but Odelya is beautiful. Aviram's music is brilliant and swift and direct. Odelya's vocals are lovely and haunting. It wasn't so long ago that used to despise such stuff in the music I listen to. Now I can't even imagine a Melicia live without the both of these ultratalented siblings.

The music will finish up at 12:30 p.m. with an all-star DJ set.

See the Web site and mobile site for updated info. For your car navigation system, the telephone number for the PalCall hotel is 0279-96-1166.

Earthcore Japan and Psy-16: Sept. 16-18

Earth Energy 2006

Earthcore Japan and Psy16 present "Earth Energy" at Namesawa Camp Village in Yamanashi Prefecture. Just to be clear, "Earth Energy" is not yet associated with the global "Earthdance 2006" global project for peace that's being staged this weekend in 250 places in 50 countries. But Ken at Psy16 confided the other day that this will hopefully change.

This party is limited to 500 people because of Namesawa's size and limited parking. There may be some tickets left at the gate for 7,000 yen. The parking charge is 4,000 yen per car. But for three or more people inside, then it's only 2,000 yen.

Those who bought Web tickets are now listening free to the hot new "Earth Energy: Resolution" compiled by DJ Kemix. This CD grabbed the featured spot at Quintrix in Shibuya last week.

Live acts Optokoppler (Y.S.E. Records), Chromatone (Vapor Vent), Naveen (Labs of Perception), Purepressure (Vapor Vent), Asteca (El Dorado Sounds), Jikkenteki (Par-2 Productions) and 01-N (Psy16), plus DJs Daijiro, Kemix, YK, OZ, Tomoko, and Psysuke.

Raja Ram's Stash Bag Tour 2006

Solstice Music presents "Raja Ram's Stash Bag Tour 2006." See the Web site for details on the following dates: Nagoya, Oct. 6; Tokyo, Oct. 7; Gifu, Oct. 8; Kanazawa Oct. 13; Fukuoka, Oct. 14; Nagisa, Oct. 15.

Psychedelic Radar and The Second Room remind you to make your campsites as theft-proof as possible by camping in groups and discussing security watches and padlocking your tent zippers as a basic precaution. All parties are in Tokyo unless otherwise noted. Thanks to everyone who came for last Sunday's party. Send party info and fliers to: the2ndroom@yahoo.com


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